Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer





Historically, ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer.”

Recent studies have shown that symptoms of ovarian cancer are not silent. The following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population:

  • bloating
  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

If you have any of these symptoms almost daily for three weeks or more, TAKE ACTION.

Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of symptoms are a key factor in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than two or three weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage.

Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer, including:

  • fatigue (feeling very tired all the time)
  • indigestion (gas or nausea)
  • back pain
  • pain with intercourse
  • constipation
  • menstrual irregularities

However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer. That’s because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.

It is important to understand that symptoms associated with ovarian cancer are common. They are also often due to other causes. Nearly all women have these symptoms from time to time, and they don’t automatically mean that a woman has ovarian cancer — but they also can’t be ignored.

If you have these symptoms, and they are new and occur almost daily, seek prompt medical attention. They could be a sign of ovarian cancer.

Next: How It’s Diagnosed »

More Resources

  • Symptom Diary (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance)
    OCNA provides a packet of tools that women can use to pursue answers to their concerns that the symptoms they are experiencing may be evidence of ovarian cancer.

Our Source: 

 Women’s Cancer Network

Survivor Stories

I want to encourage other survivors to find inner tools that can create new possibilities for themselves despite the disease.

Ovarian cancer survivors share their stories, because no one should have to face this disease alone.
Read their stories here »